Purchasing local solar power is a win-win for cities

March 14, 2019 by  
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The back story of Philadelphia’s plan to build a 70-megawatt plant that will power up to 22 percent of its municipal government.

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Purchasing local solar power is a win-win for cities

Playing for keeps: Is designing emotional durability the key to a circular economy?

March 14, 2019 by  
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We have too much stuff, and too much consumer detachment. But getting people to see material products as long-term is hard.

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Playing for keeps: Is designing emotional durability the key to a circular economy?

Don’t forget to fight for these "less glamorous" endangered species

February 20, 2019 by  
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Not all endangered animals have their own PR firms to save them. Many are living humble lives outside the limelight. A new poster campaign, commissioned by NetCredit, aims to draw attention to these underdogs in the conservation movement. According to Luke Doyle, who worked on the campaign, “The research team gathered data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build a long list of species that are flagged as ‘endangered’ or ‘threatened’ in every state of the U.S. The team then shortlisted the top populations at risk of extinction in each state, making sure that there were no duplicated species , as in some cases, certain states are home to the same populations. When finding a species that had been shortlisted already but was repeated in two or more states, we moved forward with the next domestic species on the list for the state we were working on.” Related: These are the most endangered species in the world Here’s an assortment of these endangered and threatened animals from different regions of the US. See the full list of endangered animals in every state here . Arkansas: ivory-billed woodpecker Logging decimated the home of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which was first reported extinct in 1944. However, occasional reported sightings give hope that a small population still lives on. California: Point Arena mountain beaver This primitive rodent is called a “living fossil.” They live underground, surfacing to eat stinging nestles and thistles. Agriculture , roads and recreational use of land threaten what’s left of their habitat. Illinois: cave amphipod An Illinois original, this gray amphipod lives in cold water, shunning light. Extremely sensitive, this little crustacean is very susceptible to pesticides and other human-made chemicals. Scientists are working to restore the population by 2023. Indiana: Indiana bat Pollution and commercial caving threaten the Indiana bat, endangered since 1967. More recently, white-nose syndrome has killed many more while they hibernate in limestone caves. Louisiana: Louisiana pine snake As pine forests are logged, this point-nosed snake loses its habitat. The Louisiana pine snake is non-venomous and grows up to a meter and a half long. Conservationists estimate their population at a few thousand. Missouri: Ozark hellbender This curved salamander can live up to 50 years — if they can survive poaching, contaminated water and habitat loss. They hang out under rocks during the day, breathing through their skin. At night, they hunt insects and crayfish. New Jersey: Sei whale This mysterious 60-foot baleen whale likes the deep water far from coastlines. Until commercial whaling ended in 1987, the Sei whale was fair game. They’re seldom seen, but still occasionally get caught in fishing gear. Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans North Carolina: Carolina northern flying squirrel Only found in North Carolina, southwest Virginia and Tennessee, this ice-age flying squirrel is struggling to survive pollution and climate change . Pennsylvania: short-eared owl These owls nest in grassy areas, such as around the Philadelphia Airport. Developers and agricultural practices threaten their remaining nesting places. South Dakota: black-footed ferret The only ferret native to North America, fewer than 500 are left in South Dakota. These members of the weasel family rely on prairie dogs for food — and prairie dog populations are also decreasing. Via NetCredit Images via NetCredit and Ryan Moehring of USFWS

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Don’t forget to fight for these "less glamorous" endangered species

Walmart’s tiny home on wheels is embarking on a tour around the country

February 8, 2019 by  
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While Walmart may not be exactly synonymous with sophisticated home design now, that could all change if Allswell has anything to do with it. Walmart-owned Allswell is a bedding and mattress company that is using a stunning tiny home, designed by the creative team from Modern Tiny Living , to showcase its quality mattresses. Setting off across the country on February 8, the gorgeous tiny home on wheels will make its way from NYC to Seattle, stopping at various sleep-deprived cities along the way. The tiny home was custom-made by the experienced tiny home builders from Modern Tiny Living. At just 200 square feet, the home is quite compact. However, working closely with the Allswell team, the company was able to deliver truly stunning results that will not only be the perfect vessel to showcase the ultra-comfy, sleep-inducing merchandise but also to feature the best of tiny home design . Related: This gorgeous tiny home is perfect for entertaining guests A black and white facade with a quaint gabled roof over the front door gives the design a traditional yet modern appearance. On the interior, all-white shiplap runs up to the high cathedral ceiling. The two thick wooden beams that cross the ceiling, along with the hard wood flooring, contrast nicely with the white walls. The interior design throughout the home is bright and airy, with a neutral color pallet that is broken up by a gorgeous blue kitchen. The combination of bright blue cabinets with a large, white farm sink and shiny countertops adds a contemporary touch to the design. Adjacent to the kitchen space is the Allswell tiny home’s principle feature: a large mattress. The mattress is front and center in the bedroom, easily found thanks to the fun glass-paneled garage door. On the other side of the home is another mattress that pulls double-duty as a day bed. The home is outfitted with plenty of storage as well. Kicking off its  tiny home tour in a city that ironically never sleeps, Allswell is currently in Union Square as it prepares for its cross-country trek. The team plans to stop in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and will end in Seattle. + Allswell + Modern Tiny Living Via Forbes Images via Allswell

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Walmart’s tiny home on wheels is embarking on a tour around the country

Fast food industry under pressure to decrease its global footprint stat

February 8, 2019 by  
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Fast food is one of the most popular conveniences of modern society, but it comes at a huge risk to the environment. Amid growing concerns of agriculture and water risks, a group of global investors are putting pressure on the fast food industry to come up with a sustainable model to lower their footprint on the environment. The investors, who manage a combined $6.5 trillion, issued letters to six of the largest fast food chains in the United States. The letters asked the companies to explain their plan to reduce risks associated with meat and dairy products by the spring of 2019. The companies targeted include McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Chipotle Mexican Grills, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut and KFC) and Wendy’s Co. There are over 80 investors who signed on to the initiative, which is also backed by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). The ICCR has a long track record of talking with fast food chains about environmental issues, such as water hazards and deforestation. Related: Prosecco production is destroying soil in some Italian vineyards “Every day around 84 million adults consume fast food in the U.S. alone, but the inconvenient truth of convenience food is that the environmental impacts of the sector’s meat and dairy products have hit unsustainable levels,” said Jeremy Coller, the head of Coller Capital, in a statement. One of the biggest issues with fast food restaurants is their dependency on agriculture, specifically the beef industry . With fast food continuing to rise in popularity, the demand for more beef has reached unsustainable levels. Not to mention, the severe impact the dairy industry has on the environment. To help combat the situation, the new initiative hopes to work with companies to reduce water waste and deforestation, as well as improve conditions in animal agriculture all across the board. Working together, companies in the fast food industry can improve the environment and help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions . It is unclear how the fast food companies have reacted to the letter. If they choose not to act and better the environment, experts predict the agricultural industry — which includes dairy and meat production — will account for around 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions within the next 30 years. Via Ceres Image via Shutterstock

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Fast food industry under pressure to decrease its global footprint stat

Clean Energy Deal Tracker: ExxonMobil, Facebook headline a record-breaking fourth quarter

January 17, 2019 by  
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Plus, Cargill and the city of Philadelphia jump in with notable contracts.

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Clean Energy Deal Tracker: ExxonMobil, Facebook headline a record-breaking fourth quarter

World’s greenest and healthiest office crowned in Washington, D.C.

June 22, 2017 by  
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The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) headquarters in Washington DC was just named the greenest and healthiest office on the planet! Perkins+Will designed the groundbreaking interior, which has received both LEED and WELL Platinum Certification under WELL Building Standard. The 8,500-square-foot office features human-centric design elements that reduce stress, increase air quality, mask sounds and regulate the body’s physiological processes. Employees have no assigned seats, but choose available workplace environments that support specific daily tasks. The interior includes meeting spaces and private areas that can be reserved for several hours at a time. Related: GSK’s US Headquarters Awarded Double LEED Platinum in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Biophilic design strategies employed throughout the space include the use of natural materials , architectural forms, patterning, and state-of-the-art monitoring systems to create a world-class working environment. ASID staff participated in the design process by wearing sensors that measured speech patterns and body movement when they interacted with each other. These sensor readings were compared to show how their interactions changed as a result of the new office design. Related: NBBJ Unveils New Plans for Biosphere Greenhouses at Amazon’s Seattle HQ “We began this project with a clear goal of showcasing the many ways design can positively affect the health and well-being of employees while boosting resource efficiency ,” said ASID CEO Randy W. Fiser. “At ASID, we believe in research-based results in design and placed an emphasis on third-party validation of the space,” he added. + Perkins+Will + American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

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World’s greenest and healthiest office crowned in Washington, D.C.

Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

June 22, 2017 by  
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Imagine zipping between cities in mere minutes—all from the comfort of your hotel suite. That’s the futuristic vision of the $130 million Hyperloop Hotel, a proposal built upon Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One high-speed train system currently in development. Designed by University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate architecture student Brandan Siebrecht, the Hyperloop Hotel envisions seamless transport between 13 cities with a proposed flat fee of $1,200. The visionary Hyperloop Hotel won the student section of this year’s Radical Innovation Award , an annual competition for futuristic hotel designs. Siebrecht’s winning design uses reclaimed shipping containers as mobile, customizable hotel rooms that zip between cities at near-supersonic speeds through tubes and dock at designated hotels. Guests could travel across the U.S. without leaving the comfort of their pods and handle the entire process, from reservation to travel arrangements, with their smartphone. Siebrecht created the design for America’s 13 largest cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Sante Fe, Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. He drew inspiration from Musk’s Hyperloop test track, the DevLoop, located just outside Las Vegas. If successful, the high-speed train could zip travelers from Philadelphia to New York in 10 minutes. Related: Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for the Hyperloop Guests can customize the layout of the repurposed modular shipping container hotel rooms. Each hotel room includes areas for sleeping, bathing, living, and flex. Siebrecht estimates that the construction cost of each docking hotel between $8 and $10 million, and believes construction of his hotel concept feasible within the next five to 10 years. + Radical Innovation Award Via Business Insider

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Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

MVRDV transforms an abandoned highway into a "plant village" in the sky

May 23, 2017 by  
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Architectural superstars MVRDV have transformed an abandoned highway in Seoul into a 983-meter-long elevated Skygarden. The “plant village” is located high above traffic, and it welcomes visitors to stroll through 24,000 indigenous trees and shrubs. Dutch firm MVRDV  was tasked with turning a 1970s-era highway into a space that would not only add greenery to the city, but would make the area more pedestrian friendly. The design is called Seoullo 7017 is Korea, which means “Seoul Street,” combined with 1970 and 2017, the years the highway was built and the year it was renovated. The park contains more than just the garden walkway itself. Along the way are tea houses, shopes, galleries, a theater and restaurants. Former on and off-ramps were converted into stairs, elevators and ramps to get on and off the garden superhighway. Plants are organized on the Skygarden in different families. These families are grouped by the Korean alphabet. This naturally led to splitting the Skygarden into different groupings of fragrance and color, providing visitors with a different experience depending on the season and area of the garden . At night, the Skygarden is illuminated with blue light, which is healthier for the plants. Related: Philadelphia Unveils Their Own Elevated Rail Park for the Abandoned Reading Viaduct “Our design offers a living dictionary of plants which are part of the natural heritage of South Korea and now, existing in the city center,” said Winy Maas of MVRDV. “The idea here is to connect city dwellers with nature, while at the same time also offering the opportunity of experiencing these amazing views to the Historical Seoul Station and Namdaemun Gate.” + MVRDV via ArchDaily and Dezeen images via Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV transforms an abandoned highway into a "plant village" in the sky

BIGs battleship-inspired LEED Gold office opens in Philadelphia

November 4, 2016 by  
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Located at the Navy Yard Corporate Center, the four-story office building design was shaped by Robert Stern’s 1,200-acre Navy Yard master plan of rectangular city blocks and James Corner Field Operations’ award-winning circular Central Green Park . The building’s double-curved facade bows inward on two sides in reference to the docked battleships nearby and to respond to the “shock wave” of the park’s circular running track. In addition to the maritime-inspired facade, a functioning periscope is inserted in the heart of the building to project views of the Navy Yard basin into the center of the elevator lobby and to bring in additional natural light. Related: James Corner Field Operations designs an iconic circular park for the Philadelphia Navy Yard “In many cases, architects design big, boxy buildings that could be placed anywhere and don’t connect directly to the site,” said Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, RIBA, Partner, BIG. “You would really be hard-pressed to place 1200 Intrepid anywhere else, due to how it connects with its surroundings. Our commission involved creating a speculative office building, for which no tenants were committed. The key challenge here was to create a reason for tenants to be here with the constraint of a stringent budget.” Liberty Property Trust developed the 92,000-square-foot LEED Gold building. Precast concrete panels of varying sizes clad the exterior in a basket-weave pattern. The panels were locally manufactured using locally sourced materials that include recycled and recyclable content to reduce construction waste. + Bjarke Ingel Group Images via Bjarke Ingel Group

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BIGs battleship-inspired LEED Gold office opens in Philadelphia

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